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BlackBerry PlayBook landing as soon as February?

RIM execs hint at when the company may release its tablet, saying that the device's revenue impact will occur in its fiscal first quarter, which starts in late February.

RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook.
RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook. James Martin/CNET

Research In Motion may be planning to release the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet as early as late February.

Edel Ebbs, RIM's vice president of investor relations, said yesterday in its fiscal third-quarter earnings call that "no PlayBook revenues [are] included in our Q4 guidance, and we expect the first revenue impact from PlayBook to be in RIM's first quarter." His quote comes from a call transcript published on SeekingAlpha.

Ebbs also noted that RIM's tablet will impact the company's operating expenses on "development, marketing, and launch preparation activities" in its fiscal fourth quarter.

RIM's fiscal fourth quarter ends on February 26, potentially giving it a small window to release the tablet at the end of that month. If not, the PlayBook will likely be released before the end of May.

Although RIM didn't offer up an exact release date on the PlayBook, its statements during the earnings call narrow it down a bit. When the company first announced the tablet, it said that the device would be available in "early 2011" in the U.S. With its latest claims, it's safe to say January and at least early February are out.

But RIM didn't just focus on the PlayBook's release. Co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the company is witnessing "pent-up interest in the PlayBook [that's] really overwhelming." He added, according to the transcript, that the company is "pretty flooded with content and game-type and media-type partnerships and social-solution-type partnerships" with its tablet. However, RIM still wants to cater to the enterprise with the tablet by making the PlayBook "very professional grade."

"I think the PlayBook redefines what a tablet should do," Balsillie said during the call, according to the transcript. "I think the PlayBook sets the bar way high on performance, and you're going to see more."

Balsillie also confirmed that the company will be showing off the PlayBook at CES in January.